We are excited to announce our second Poet-in-Residence, Vera West! Earlier this year, we were introduced to Vera through our all-star Poetry Barista, Yong Takahashi. Michael and Jennifer were throwing around the idea of doing a “potpourri post” of poetry. The timing worked out for it to fall on National Poetry Week, so we organized a lineup of poets for the post. I reached out to Yong to ask if she knew any poets who would want to contribute a poem and she replied with an enthusiastic request to include Vera. (You can see that National Poetry Month post here.)
Over the summer, us baristas were discussing who we wanted to nominate for the next Poet-in-Residence position and again Yong came back with Vera’s name. We perused her portfolio and had a delightful Zoom call with her. It was then that Jack and I understood Yong’s passion for getting Vera on FC! Her work comes from the soul and her energy is infectious (no small task over Zoom!). We hope that you will soon see what we mean. So it is with honor and fervor that we welcome our 2022-2023 Poet-in-Residence, Vera West, into your homes.
A Note from Vera:
I’m so honored to be given this opportunity to grow within my craft. It’s an exciting chance to challenge myself and really create the type of poetry that not only represents who I am but also gives a platform to the cultural and social issues that are far too often swept under the rug.
A Sampling of Poems:
when I knew a change was coming,
when I knew I was coming into my own,
my father scorned me:
you’re a coward,
you’re a chicken-shit,
you’re wasting your god-given talent;
and it was then I realized,
he couldn’t fathom
me being anything more
than what he was.
when I knew a change was dawning,
when I knew I was becoming me,
my mother squeezed my hand:
you have something special
and you must write,
and it was then I realized,
that despite her flaws
she could see past mine.
We can only bear
brief moments of happiness;
then, flickers of doubt appear:
it’s not real,
just a jest,
a cruel prelude
to the looming dark.
After a messy divorce from music, Vera fell into a torrid love affair with writing. They’ve been somewhat happily married since 2014 when her first novel, a romance sci-fi mashup, Soul(s), was published. Vera graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2011 with an emphasis on fiction and poetry. Since then, Vera has self-published several novels and poetry collections tackling themes of love, redemption, cultural identity, social issues, and the afterlife. Vera West resides in Michigan with her family and can often be found reheating the tea she forgot she made or reading a good book.
All the best wishes for Vera! From the little I know of her thus far, she’s most deserving of this honor.
Thanks for the kind words about Vera. We hope you get to know her much more over the next few years!
So excited to see what more comes from this amazing young talent!
Thanks Tracy! Stay tuned.